The builders and consumers of the 21st century have become environmentally conscious. They realize that "green buildings" contribute heavily to sustainability by eliminating threats to our environment. Corporations tend to consider resource efficiency during the construction, renovation, and demolition of a building. Studies show that the construction industry has the largest potential to diminish the emission of greenhouse gases. These sustainable structures have fewer operational expenditures and give an excellent energy performance. That's why green construction is gradually taking over and becoming the norm in the industry. Here are eight of these strategies briefly explained:
The first step towards being eco-friendly involves using natural and non-toxic materials to bring sustainability to the construction project. Traditional building materials may enhance the risk of skin irritation and respiratory disorders that affect the residents of these structures. The rule of replacing conventional materials with eco-friendly ones also applies to paints, insulation, and adhesives as well. Contractors can bring straw, bamboo, and lumbar from forests to improve material efficiency. These renewable products also include recycled stone/metal. Moreover, the EPA recommends certain foundry sands and coal combustion products for sustainable building endeavors.
After collecting the material required for the job, it's time to hire engineers fit for a sustainable construction job! You don't want to delegate the responsibility of creating an environment-friendly structure to the wrong builders. So, it's essential to hire engineers who are climate-conscious and capable of implementing eco-friendly construction strategies. Employing professionals with an online civil engineering master's degree will bring strength and sustainability to your building's architecture. These individuals are equipped with the expertise to construct a green structure. They are also well-aware of the tactics that help reduce the carbon footprint of traditional techniques.
Suggestions for eco-friendly construction include relying on local manufacturers instead of transporting goods from distant locations. This technique reduces the carbon emissions produced by the vehicles that would carry these materials across hundreds of miles. Also, utilizing locally produced goods promotes native manufacturers and improves the local economy. Engineers call this "natural building," and it depends on local ecology and the availability of locally-sourced raw materials. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) definition of regional materials states that they should be produced within 500 miles of your location to be regarded as locally harvested products.
A building can't be "green" in the true sense without well-designed garden spaces. Studies show that a building can thrive for twelve decades if there's ample space around it. So, adding more space will allow future generations to renovate the structure as per their wishes. Including gardens in your building's architecture will enable tenants to pursue gardening. And the mere proximity to a garden/park helps people relax and feel more at ease. It also reduces stress and adds to the aesthetics of the surroundings.
Contractors try to reduce the building's impact on the environment by harnessing solar and wind power. These renewable energy sources put less strain on the climate and contribute to a decreased carbon footprint. The eco-friendly alternatives to traditional energy sources involve the installation of turbines and photovoltaic windows. It seems wasteful to allow sunlight merely to bounce off your roof; since you can place solar panels to collect this immense power source. A battery can allow you to store the excess energy and use it during nighttime. This energy efficiency has become an integral component of modern-day architecture through which buildings are made to be self-sufficient.
Construction should facilitate and maintain excellent air quality for occupants. Studies show that adding windows to your office building allows your employees to sleep 46 minutes more every night on average. Similarly, an improved air quality enables workers to be 8% more efficient. Also, people working in well-ventilated green buildings show over 100% increase in brain function. Buildings tend to have an HVAC system controlling the temperature inside. That's why you need to invest in quality insulation materials, e.g., fiber, sheep's wool, and recycled cotton. The insulation will keep the structure cool during summers and warm during winters, ensuring 24/7 comfort to the tenants.
Contractors do not need to transport waste material immediately away from the demolition site. They can choose to bring these materials for recycling and repurposing them for alternative applications. It would be best to consider repurposing wood, drywall, and carpets to reduce wastage as much as possible. Also, haulers have made it more convenient for you to achieve higher landfill avoidance. And some materials don't need to be transported for recycling. For instance, contractors can compress concrete on-site and be reutilized right away. In some American states, commercial buildings are the most significant contributors to waste, which can be brought down by adopting sustainable measures.
Construction procedures require massive amounts of water. But decreasing water consumption can help achieve your sustainability goals. Construction facilities can arrange for water to be collected, purified, and reutilized on-site. Similarly, contractors can also lessen their dependence on local aquifers by using rainwater, non-sewage, and/or sullage. Moreover, some companies consider using recycled condensation gathered from HVAC units for temporary construction projects.
We're currently alive during our history's most significant urban development phase. Around 50% of the human population lives in cities and, by 2060, two-thirds of people will occupy urban settlements. These settlements account for about 40% of the global GHG emissions. For this reason, traditional construction strategies have become our major concern. The world wants to adopt eco-friendly building techniques to create green and healthy spaces for future generations. These sustainable constructions put less strain on local resources, improve indoor air quality, enhance water efficiency, and contribute to a better environment. That's why green buildings will dominate tomorrow's engineering.